National cattlemen’s organizations split on RFID for traceability

Cattlemen and ranchers have three national organizations vying for their loyalty and support, and they don’t always agree on policy.

That’s apparently going to be true for something as simple as whether the interstate movement of cattle should require the use of radio-frequency ear-tags for traceability purposes.  Commonly referred to as RFID, electronic ear-tags are used in Europe to track animals from birth to market and even on to the meat counters of retail outlets.

In comments filed last week that expressed some concerns, but overall support for going to an RFID system, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association said  “knowing where diseased and at-risk exposed animals are, as well as where they have been and when, is indispensable to emergency response and ongoing disease control and eradication programs.”   

In comments filed ahead of the deadline, the USCA expressed support for RFID with these provisos:

  • There should be no private control of
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Listeria found in a quarter of frozen veg in England

Listeria was detected in almost a quarter of frozen vegetable samples in England, according to a study.

Between December 2018 and April 2019, 1,050 frozen fruit and vegetable samples were collected. Listeria monocytogenes or other Listeria species were detected in 167 samples of vegetables. Listeria monocytogenes was present in 10 percent of frozen vegetables.

The study of frozen fruit and vegetables from catering and retail premises in England assessed microbiological quality with respect to Listeria and E. coli. Findings were published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

Eleven samples contained more than 100 colony forming units per gram (cfu/g) of E. coli. Listeria monocytogenes or other Listeria species were detected in six samples of fruit and six fruit and vegetable mixes.

Obtaining baseline data
Work was prompted after the outbreak of listeriosis that affected 54 people in six countries with 10 deaths in 2015 to 2018 associated with … Read more

RASFF notifications broke 4,000 barrier in 2019

More than 4,000 reports on food or feed risks were filed by member states to the European Commission this past year.

In 2019, 4,118 original notifications were transmitted through the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) which gave rise to 10,388 follow-up notices compared to 3,699 original notifications in 2018.

A small decline in follow-ups was because of the conversations feature in iRASFF. In 2019, more than 2,600 conversations were conducted in this application.

Aflatoxins in nuts remained the most frequently reported issue in food checked at EU borders.

RASFF posts by notifying country

China regained the top spot as the country responsible for origin of the most reports followed by Turkey and Poland with more than 300 and the United States with 220.

A total of 64 reports were triggered by a food poisoning event. Forty related to foodborne outbreaks in 2019. From these notices, 14 … Read more

FSIS does not see need for changing veal terminology

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has denied a 4-year-old petition filed on behalf of the American Veal Association. The petition sought an FSIS rulemaking to establish regulatory definitions for veal and other immature cattle to be consistent with industry practices.  Specifically, the petition requested:

  •  That FSIS define “veal” as “any immature bovine having a dressed carcass weight up to 425 pounds and administered only U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved medications and feed, formula, nutritional and herbal supplements in accordance with regulations.” 
  •  That FSIS establish “optional” subcategories for “milk-fed veal,” “formula-fed veal,” and “grain/grass-fed veal” based on the live animal’s diet and its dressed carcass weight, and for “bob veal” based on a dressed carcass weight of fewer than 100 pounds. 
  •  That FSIS defines “calf” for labeling purposes as any immature bovine that does not meet any of the requested veal definitions.

According to … Read more

Imported frozen berries suspected in hepatitis A outbreak

Officials in Sweden and Denmark are investigating a hepatitis A outbreak with frozen imported berries suspected to be the source of infection.

Since mid-July, nine patients with the same type of hepatitis A virus have been reported from five different regions in Sweden. The latest patient fell ill on Sept. 18.

Six women and three men from Norrbotten, Västra Götaland, Stockholm, Uppsala and Södermanland are infected with the liver virus. Patients range from 2 to 78 years old. Also, a couple of people are ill in Denmark.

Frozen berries named as potential source
Interviews have found some people ate frozen imported berries, especially raspberries, which were not heated before consumption. However, analysis of sampled berries has not been able to detect the hepatitis A virus.

Local infection control units, Swedish Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket), and Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) are investigating to confirm the source of the infections.

Two … Read more